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Pibal Theodolites and Manufacturers information (present)

This page contains links to manufacturers who currently produce balloon theodolites and links to pages summarizing information that I have received about products that are currently available.  Information on instruments no longer in production is available in the Pibal Theodolite Models and related items section of this web site.

There are at least 5 manufacturers of Pibal Theodolites. The cost of a new traditional instrument ranges from about 8 thousand dollars to 25 thousand dollars depending on manufacturer and options.  The Custom Craft Windsock and Windsock Electronic Theodolite represent a departure from traditional methods of pilot balloon tracking and observation processing.  This system can be purchased fully optioned for under $ 2,100. 

Pibal Theodolites may be produced by sources in China or other parts of Asia at this time.  I have been unable to gain any product information or make contact with manufacturers however after a considerable amount of time.

Custom Craft Inc.  The Windsock Pibal Tracking System is a clever electronic altitude azimuth system including data-logging, processing and printing of wind data.  

Warren-Knight    In the late 1990's  Warren-Knight developed a their first digital pibal theodolite in the Model 20-9000 series.  Work at Warren Knight continues to this day with additional digital theodolite models available.  The 20-8000 series theodolites are still available including the popular 8403 configuration.  

The most commonly used Pibal Theodolites in the United States and perhaps world wide are Warren Knight units Model 8403 and ML474. The US Weather Service, NOAA, Military etc. have procured large numbers of these, and still maintain a number of them.   Instruments in this instrument lineage were produced by Warren-Knight, David White, and a few examples by Seiler Instruments under license to David White.  Production of this instrument series dates back to at least the second world war and perhaps earlier.   The tooling and remaining machines were transferred from David White to Warren-Knight in the sometime prior to 1967. They are still in production with variety of custom options available. 

Tamaya Technics Inc.(Japan)
This is the same company that makes Marine Sextants and fine optics.  The TD-4 succeeds the older TD-3 theodolite.  The TD-4 is a electronic unit with a chart recorder.  At least 3 previous models were produced by this company, one dating back to at least the 1940's.  

F.W. Breithaupt & Sohn (Germany)
Two models are in available, a standard (Garat) and an electronic (Tebal) theodolite.